The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and the Modern Māori Quartet (Yee Yang Lee & Sums Selvarajan) are about to venture into new musical territory, which will enthral and delight audiences throughout the country.
For its Summer Pops tour the NZSO has teamed up with the award-winning foursome, known for their fresh take on the music and magic of Māori show bands. The dream pairing of the NZSO and the quartet will feature new arrangements in English and Te Reo Māori of showband classics and pop hits. It includes the rousing Haere Mai, Pakanga and Aroha medleys, singalong favourite Ten Guitars and 70s R&B hit Float On.
The quartet have also written new original songs which will be performed with arrangements by seven New Zealand composers.
The quartet’s James Tito, Maaka Pohatu, Matariki Whatarau and Francis Kora have been eager to work with the NZSO for the past few years.
“We’ve been fortunate enough to work with some awesome people thus far,” says Tito. “None of us expected to be approached by the NZSO, so we are all pretty chuffed and rearing to share the aroha. Pretty flash too, might I add.”
“One of the things I am excited for the most is working alongside some of Aotearoa’s best musicians and players. The NZSO are masters at what they do musically - people who have dedicated their lives to perfecting what they do. I am just as excited for that as I am nervous. As a quartet, this will be a new level in our development and journey so I can’t wait to seize the opportunity with my brothers beside me.”
NZSO Associate Conductor Hamish McKeich will lead the orchestra on the 12-date tour, from Whangarei to Invercargill.
“Combining two quite distinct musical genres, the NZSO and the Modern Māori Quartet, presents exciting challenges and something that I’m looking forward to sharing all over the country,” says McKeich.
“Incorporating the quartet’s wit and singing with all the colour of an orchestra should provide a great vehicle for making some magic happen on stage. Will we succeed? Come and find out!”
The quartet has also been impressed with the arrangements to their original songs by composers Chris Gendall, Mahuia Bridgman-Cooper, Anonymouz, Claire Cowan, Mark Dennison, Robbie Ellis and frequent NZSO collaborator Gareth Farr.
“The process so far has been smooth and amazing,” says Tito. “These super talented composers have arranged our original songs beyond expectation and I can’t wait to tour around the country sharing our songs with the best orchestra this country has to offer.”
Summer Pops with the Modern Māori Quartet
MATU NGAROPO – Music Director/Dramaturge
NAPIER | Municipal Theatre | Thursday 23 February | 7pm
AUCKLAND | Town Hall | Friday 24 February | 7.30pm
WHANGAREI | Forum North | Saturday 25 February | 7pm
INVERCARGILL | Civic Theatre | Wednesday 1 March | 7.30pm
DUNEDIN | Town Hall | Thursday 2 March | 7pm
CHRISTCHURCH | Horncastle Arena | Friday 3 March | 7pm
NEW PLYMOUTH | TSB Showplace | Wednesday 8 March | 7.30pm
PALMERSTON NORTH | Regent on Broadway | Thursday 9 March | 7.30pm
WELLINGTON | Michael Fowler Centre | Friday 10 March | 6.30pm
TAURANGA | Baycourt Theatre | Wednesday 15 March | 7.30pm
ROTORUA | Civic Theatre | Thursday 16 March 7.30pm
GISBORNE War Memorial Theatre | Friday 17 March | 7pm